I’m less prone to erupting like a volcano at Alarmists than I used to be. Instead I’m feeling a bit sorry for the falsifiers, who think they have won. They are in their glory, able to spew whatever poppycock they want without fearing rebuttal, for they are on the side of the Fake News, and those who speak against them are censored or shadow-banned. Therefore they imagine they are fearless, for they imagine they can make things up with impunity, and no one can rebuke them. However Truth needs no voice. It simply stands there, awesome and beautiful, as they scuttle about like cockroaches in the dark, delighting in their forgeries.
However it doesn’t take much to reveal how fearful the falsifiers actually are. Throw a loose cannon like Elon Musk into the mix, and even a drab of free speech sends the cockroaches scuttling like a light-bulb clicking on in the kitchen.
They are, midst their glut, a bit like the Amalekites 3000 years ago, rejoicing after their successful raids of both Philistine and Judaic lands, and their burning of Ziklag. They must have been very pleased with themselves, for they took advantage of the fact the Philistines and Israelites were midst a war to raid both. And they succeeded and were far from the scene of their crime. The ancient Biblical tale states: “(The Amalekites) were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.” What the Amalekites failed to recognize was that their “great spoil” included two of the wives of soon-to-be-King David, and he was royally pissed off. His arrival at their celebration was the kitchen light bulb clicking on for those cockroaches, but most failed to scuttle fast enough. “And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled.”
There are certain climate scientists I’ve wanted to send fleeing on camels, ever since the Climate Audit site caught James Hansen fudging his numbers back in August, 2007.
And then the Climate-gate fiasco in 2009 just affirmed my suspicion that some, and indeed many, of the climate scientists were not the slightest bit interested in Truth. They only pretended to be scientists. Their real interest was in promoting an agenda in order to earn filthy lucre provided by bigwigs, who were the ones who truly wanted the agenda promoted. And the agenda? It was an effort to create an imaginary calamity, and use the “crisis” to waylay public expenditures, and to plunder trillions of dollars which could have been far more wisely spent. And they have gotten away with it. 2007 is a long time ago, and I have now been watching them for a decade and a half.
Because they have been so deceitful and crooked it is inevitable that Karma will get them in the end. It may not manifest as a King David crashing their party, but a Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads. But I’m not sorry for them because of that.
I’m sorry for them because they miss so much that is awesome and beautiful, by preferring their fraud. All the time they spend censoring Skeptics, all the attention they devote to seeking threats to their scam, all the imagination they squander inventing fabricated poppycock for an ever-gullible media, is time wasted for a nothing. If they had spent time contemplating Truth, what wonders they might have witnessed.
However the same decade and a half I’ve been amazed at their audacity, and the fact they never get properly rebuked for what is fraud, (and for at times even lying under oath), is the same decade and a half they have stunted their minds. They think they have gained money, and prestige, and positions at public institutions, but money cannot be more than a Midas curse, without Truth, and pretentiously puffing about public institutions can be as whacko as a man strutting about a mental institution claiming he is Napoleon, if divorced from Truth. What might they have been, had they spent the decade and a half more wisely? What might they have discovered? Maybe, just maybe, they might have even been a true scientist. But now the years are wasted, and they shall never know.
I do know, for I have been under no compunction to insist everything that happens is due to CO2 (caused by evil fossil fuels). What a strain and burden shouldering that presumption must be! The list of things blamed on Global Warming is completely ridiculous, ever increasing, and amazing.
For a time a certain website kept a list, but after several hundred articles blamed several hundred events on Global Warming, the website apparently gave it up. The fact was that the media suggested everything was Global Warming’s fault. This was handy for mindless people, for they never needed to think.
However it did and does present a problem: If everything is caused by Global Warming, then even good things are caused by Global Warming, and then one is then cornered, and must say good things are bad. Good things must be bad because they are caused by Global Warming. And once you say good is bad your moral compass is shot; it is like having a compass at the North Pole, where every direction is south. You have lost your ability to discern good from evil, or even up from down. All the measuring sticks scientists have painstaking designed to study Truth with cease to function; you lose the power to discern; you are lost. The professorship at a bigwig University you sold your soul for turned out to be a lobotomy. Science is a study of Truth, but you can’t even spell the word.
But the Truth stands unmoved by the idiocy of mortals. “But what is Truth?” then ask the ones who do not want to know.
In terms of mundane reality, Truth is a kalidoscope of variables, an interplay of countless possibilities too huge for even the most enormous computer to calculate, a system called Chaos by some and The Universe by others, which requires omniscience to fathom, which, because we lack omniscience, is either annoying, if you don’t like to think, or a wonder, if you do.
I like to think. I like to wonder. I don’t need to understand a sunrise to feel moved. Yet I am moved to greater understanding. This is the power of Truth, and is how it is that both impractical poets and practical scientists study the identical thing: Truth.
That being said, I’d like to move on to the very little I understand, and the enormous amount I wonder about, concerning volcanoes on the floor of the arctic sea.
If man actually had some noticeable effect on the planet’s levels of CO2, you would expect to see some change in the yearly CO2 rise measured on Mauna Loa, caused by the shut-down of industry and air travel, worldwide. But there is not even a blip of difference. In fact, if you are into blips, there is an infinitesimal increase, in the seventh month of the yearly eight-month rise in CO2 levels, which infinitesimally proves the opposite of the Alarmist theory, which suggests mankind causes the increase in CO2.
After eight months rising, the CO2 levels usually sink for four months, due to a voracious appetite for CO2 on the part of plants. Most of the world’s land is in the northern hemisphere, and, even in the arctic tundra, growth is explosive during the long days of summer. The planet’s CO2 levels quail under the onslaught of this vegetable onslaught.
You might think men were more mighty than vegetables, but apparently we’re not. We don’t even blip the CO2 levels.
This should cause an inquiring mind to go, “Hmm”. There is this process called “thinking”, or “using your mind”, which brings out the Sherlock Holmes in a healthy psyche. A vigorous and athletic brain loves a mystery, and enjoys the world of wonder. Of course, some do not think for themselves.
(At this point I’ll skip writing and deleting a ten-page-rant).
My personal conclusion (see many past blogs) has been that perhaps the planet’s reason for rising CO2 levels might be something other than mankind.
The sun goes through “sunspot cycles”, and measurements have determined the sun pours more energy down on earth when there are many sunspots than when there are few.
But, (Sherlock Holmes inquires), how would sunlight increase or decrease the levels of CO2?
Well, Sherlock, it turns out that, besides plants, another thing that absorbs CO2 is water. Our planet is covered by vast seas, and all that water is absorbing CO2, but only to a certain point. This “certain point” is determined by the temperature of the water. Cold water can absorb more CO2 than warm water. Therefore, if the seas are warmer, less CO2 can be absorbed (and some might be released) than would be the case when the seas are colder.
Therefore an inquiring mind might conclude that when the sun had many spots and more energy was poring down, the seas would become warmer, and less CO2 would be absorbed. Therefore one would confidently check the evidence, and would be shocked. Data disproves the initial hypothesis.
If one looks at the SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) for when the sun was “noisy” and sunspots were numerous, the sea’s surfaces are significantly colder than they are now, when the sun is very “quiet” and has an unblemished face for weeks on end. How is this possible? How can a hotter sun make a colder sea? How can a colder sun make a warmer sea?
It has occurred to me that increased energy from the sun doesn’t merely effect thermometers, but also anemometers. Energy can take the form of wind. Wind can cool oceans through evaporation, causing billowing clouds blocking the sun, and, perhaps most significantly, wind can cause up-welling from the ocean’s chilly depths.
The most notorious of these up-wellings is the La Nina, and, when the La Nina surges up along the coast of Peru, it leads to a huge increase in the population of fish, and a dramatic drop in SST, and creates a chill which changes the weather patterns even to the far side of the planet. In terms of this discussion, it demonstrates that stronger Trade Winds is an example where more energy brings about lower temperatures.
Conversely, it would seem a weaker sun might lead to weaker Trade Winds and warmer SST, and be an example where less energy brings about warmer temperatures.
However one wonders how long this example of contrary thought could last. How long could less energy keep making things warmer? Is there a point where, having in a sense robbed Peter to pay Paul, the seas would run out of warmth stored by a warmer past, and face a sort of bankruptcy? Is there some point at which SST start to drop, even without the chill of up-wellings? And, at that point, would the seas become more able to absorb CO2? Leading to an abrupt drop in CO2 levels?
This is only the tip of an iceberg, when it comes to the issues the true Sherlock Holmeses of climate-science are scrutinizing. My example only involves a few of many variables. Profound wondering can spring from subjects I haven’t mentioned, such as oceanic currents that move through dramatic swings; the effects of cosmic rays on cloud-cover; whether the sun effects earthquakes and volcanoes; whether volcanic ash effects the albedo of arctic sea-ice; whether a meridional jet-stream can push sea-ice south and chill the North Atlantic; (and that is only the start).
The more I study, the greater my wonder becomes, and just about the only thing I have concluded is that any person who says “the science is settled” hasn’t studied very much. If fact to say “the science is settled” may be solid proof you are not a scientist.
The fact the panic about the corona virus has shut down so much of ordinary life has given us a strange and unique opportunity to test many preconceptions people have about how humanity effects the weather. Personally I am very interested in how the lack of contrails may effect temperatures, especially under conditions when contrails seed clouds and form vast swaths of cirri-cumulus, and especially at night.
One thing I fully expect to see is preconceptions demolished. Part of life is seeing we are mistaken, for few of us are actual prophets. Most of us are like weathermen, who do their best, but often see their forecasts proven incorrect.
It need not be a bad thing to have preconceptions crash into ruin, for often our preconceptions blind us. For example, preconceptions about a different race or religion can keep us from getting to know the unique individuality of another person. Then, when we are forced to depend on them due to unexpected circumstances, (perhaps as shipmates in a storm at sea, or a rush when working at a fast food counter, or serving in the same unit in a battle), we see past our preconceptions and our prejudices, and consequently we sometimes discover a best friend, in a person whom we otherwise might have avoided.
What is true in the case of racism is also true in the case of science. We need to invent a new “ism”. Perhaps “science-ism”.
If you suffer from the bigotry of science-ism then you put your faith in some pathetic preconception, and can’t be bothered to think like Sherlock Holmes. You are in awe of priests who mutter mumbo-jumbo in Latin, and never learn Latin yourself. You genuflect to the inanity of “the science is settled”, when it isn’t.
The science isn’t settled in terms of short-term weather forecasting, and it especially isn’t settled in terms of the long-term forecasting called “climate”.
Also the science isn’t settled in terms of vaccines for a virus. You may get a ‘flu shot, but it is no guarantee you won’t get the ‘flu, for the ‘flu does this marvelous thing called “mutate”. Any doctor who pretends he can control a virus is either young and ignorant, or a quack.
If you are a true Sherlock Holmes, then I encourage you to think about the part “mutation” plays in life. Think about occasions it may be a good thing, as well as the times it may cause us illness. (For example, if our antibodies didn’t “mutate”, could they take the new form that defends us from a “mutated” virus?) (For another example, is not “selectively breeding” not an example of “selectively mutating”, whether you be breeding a fatter strawberry or a fiercer watchdog?) (For a final example, when an artist such as Beethoven overcomes deafness to write his Song of Joy, is not his originality “mutating” the beautiful works of the Masters he learned from, including Bach?)
Sherlock Holmes seeks the Truth, and Truth is eternal, but Truth includes change. Otherwise there would be no such thing as springtime. There would be no such thing as sunrise. There would be no such thing as healing for the desperately ill.
Therefore I conclude it is unwise to say “the science is settled” about either the climate, or the corona virus. God blessed you with a brain, so I urge you to be a Sherlock Holmes. Dare to question. Especially question politicians, for they are suppose to be servants, not bosses.
You are the boss. Why? Because when we die, no one else is going to do our dying for us. And when that stark moment comes, and we face the Starkness, I doubt it will do much good to snivel, “That big bully made me do it. He lived my life for me.” When push comes to shove, you are the boss. So, be bossy, Sherlock.
Update: WUWT reports mankind saw a 17% decrease in emmisions, which emphasizes the lack of any dip in the Monau Loa graph.)
Some mornings I feel like Washington at Valley Forge.
The propaganda of the Deep State is relentless. What a misnomer it is to call it “The Resistance.” It is obvious some big money is involved, when it blares from posters in glass cases in public places in New York City. It is not the voice of the sweltering poor. It is insidious, and is seen virtue-signaling from the plot of a Broadway play, when you head out to “take in a show.” However a truer “Resistance” shines from the efforts of the individual actors, striving not to be “the masses”, but the best of the best.
Liberal means “generous”, and there is nothing wrong with being generous. Jesus was generous. But it is not generous to tax the crap out of people to enrich your own greedy life. That is gross hypocrisy. It is far better to be an individual seeking to be superlative, the best ball player or the best actor. Then you are giving all you’ve got.
It is individuals giving all they’ve got that makes America great. It is seen in the boss, and in the boss visiting an obscure corner of his factory where a sort of family of workers do one step of a process better than it has ever been done before. The genius of the Founding Fathers was to tame the despotic tendencies of leaders and allow individuals to have rights, and it is the poison of the Deep State to remove those rights.
The distinction is obvious to me, but sometimes I despair I’ll make it clear. The Big Lie of the Deep State blares on and on. The true debate is between greed and generosity, but no one really talks about the real debate, and instead many blather about empty issues like Global Warming, which is an exercise in witlessness. If you ask an Alarmist what an “isobar” is, they think it is where Santa drinks whisky. They haven’t a clue, but still manage to virtue-signal down their noses and call me a “denier”. I fight against depression and defeat.
DOUBLE SONNET — TESTED FAITH
My faith is too tested, and I wonder What purpose can be served by bruising me. Have I not proved faith, singing in thunder? Have I not been so crushed I crawled, bowed free Of all hope, yet looked to Your kind beauty Like an innocent man on the gallows Looks past this cruel, dark world, and can see Spring’s dawn lies ahead? This lipsticked earth shows No allure to me; I see the rank sores On powdered skin. Why not show me Your smile? You’re kind to the sickly; You walk with whores As their friend. Please walk with me a mile As the Dead Sea thumps surf on sighing shores. Add Your flashing smile to my poetry. What purpose is served by misery?
Yet I will trust there is a lesson hidden In these scorched days: Some wrong wish for worldly Fame or Wealth’s lodged like a splinter, and when It is removed I will once again see The Surgeon is my friend, despite His knife. But for now I don’t see, and faith is blind As the best faith always is; for the strife We think matters has no weight, we will find, On the true scales. For Justice, too, is blind To the allurements that prompt bribery And cause all corruption. A calm, clear mind Wears a blindfold to be able to see. I know it makes no sense, and so I must Endure my scorched passages mustering trust.
My mood was not at its best Sunday morning, for I’d been up long past midnight and also my youngest son drinks no coffee, whereas I am an addict. I was astonished a kitchen could even exist without coffee. Perhaps a caffeine-free morning contributed to my gloom. However to my surprise I discovered I didn’t die, and in fact as I stepped out Brooklyn’s bricks astonished me with their orange brilliance, and the green surprised me as well, as I was unaware a tree grew in Brooklyn.
It is bragged that 600 languages are spoken in New York City’s Burroughs, by those who see it as being a sign of liberal diversity and multiculturalism. I’m not so sure it is a good thing, because I cannot help but think that somewhere else 600 communities have been lessened, and perhaps even destroyed. A community is a sign of God’s creativity, but ignorance loves to destroy. Some people think Satan will manifest as a sort of Godzilla tearing down skyscrapers, but it seems to me he has no problem with material things; he won’t bother bash skyscrapers; what he dislikes is Love, and in my time I have witnessed the destruction of families, neighborhoods, clans, tribes, and communities world-wide.
Liberals once decried the idea of a neutron bomb, which would kill people without the damage to material objects an atomic bomb manifests, yet they have said little as families and neighborhoods have been evaporated. Some even clap their hands, deeming the small-scale patriotism of a tight family a type of racism, as if even a mother’s love is evil and opposed to a faceless ideal of one vast McCulture. How much of the world has been destroyed the past sixty years? With hardly a whimper.
Yet as I trudged the sweltering street, desperately seeking my first coffee, I had the strong feeling God cannot be denied. I might be only one language of six hundred, and my skin might be only one hue of six hundred, but there was no way this swirling I was midst was going to become a melting pot, creating a drab smear of a single, muddied hue. Already new clustering was occurring, as the will to excel individually combined and created new marriages, new families, new neighborhoods, on its way to the recreation of 600 springtimes, if not 601.
Having proven optimism does not require coffee, I did find a coffee shop. Then my optimism soared, helped out still further by finding a church.
Red Brooklyn brick in Sunday morning sunshine Spreads awakening to the blue horizon As if brick has no end, but green that’s mine Lies over Earth’s curve, all made by the One Who has no end; and now all gather To sing of Love, of sweet brotherhood With many voices; and though I’d rather Be over Earth’s slow curve, this neighborhood Enchants with the same beauty shimmering Like symbols by snare drum; a song so good That it will follow me like angels on wing And dance when I’m back home in my green wood. Why my surprise? It’s not unexpected That One Light is in all eyes reflected.
This image has little to do with the things I should be focusing my attention upon, but it awes and humbles me. It makes me aware that much of what I strive to understand is miles above my head. This shouldn’t discourage me, but it does sit me back on my heels, and reminds me that even if I lucked into a brilliant discovery, it would be a mere flea in the fur of Infinity.
This awareness is an important one to have for any who deal with chaotic and basically unpredictable systems, such as meteorology and psychology. On one hand you know you must obey the rules of science, but on the other you must confess it is a joke to think you can tweezer Infinity with your calipers.
What struck me about this cloud is that it seems to involve both a standing wave and the puffing up of a cumulus cloud. Of course I could be wrong, but the simple exercise of attempting to superimpose a cumulus in the middle of a standing wave is guaranteed to cross your eyes.
I can’t say how often such eye-crossing occurs when you dare try to figure out what the weather is up to. Those who say they have “Climate Science” all figured out have to be among the most absurd people on earth. I can’t even call them arrogant, because arrogance suggests a semblance of dignity that is lacking, in complete kooks.
This picture was taken over five years ago, on February 14, 2011, at 7:35 pm, by someone named Denis Hartly. He stated “photo taken from a hotel on the road to Salobrena, on the Costa Tropical” and “The sea was behind me and I was looking across at the Monte Almendras mountains.”
I have to be careful to use my time efficiently, and a cloud like this represents a grave danger. It holds the possibility of enchantment. You could get sucked into trying to understand it, and the next thing you knew you’d wake up twenty years later, like Rip Van Winkle.
Besides the sheer science behind such a cloud, there is also the poetry, and even the oddness of a picture being taken on Valentine’s Day by a guy named “Hartly”.
It is best we walk on by, and stay on track. However as we pass such clouds it should not be with any lifting of our noses, or any belittling of that which is awesome. The simple fact of the matter is that we cannot do everything. And we should be thankful that there is enough grandeur in Infinity to go around.
Sometimes, as my mind’s eye wanders over the Arctic Ocean, I am drawn ashore to contemplate wonders of the Tundra. I try to avoid politics, as the wonders are more wonderful when simply appreciated in the light of Truth, but Climate Alarmism is a sort of whirlpool that sucks you in, even when it is basically a comical shtick.
For example, along the coast of the Northwest Territories are the “Smoking Hills” of Franklin Bay, which appear over and over in Facebook images sent by sailors attempting the Northwest Passage. The sailors always seem jarred by the sight (and scent). Often they have been cluttering their log with editorial comments about how beautiful the arctic is, and what cads humans are to destroy the pristine beauty of nature with Global Warming caused by burning coal. Then they come across a stretch of coast that is in essence Mother Nature’s Strip Mine, miles and miles of exposed lignite, black stripes in the sedimentary layers of seaside cliffs. In places the lignite has spontaneously ignited and has been burning for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, without the slightest effort on the part of Mother Nature to install smokestacks or put scrubbers in those stacks. Photo Credit: http://northwestpassage2014.blogspot.com/2014_06_01_archive.html
In the above picture the red areas are stone after the coal has been burned out, and the black is unburned lignite. Besides the current fires there is evidence of fires that burned long ago and went out. (The oldest fires are not a geologically recent occurrence; so don’t try to blame Eskimos who were careless with campfires).
In any case, even if you went to the arctic to get away from ever having to even think about the issue of coal fired power plants, the issue gets shoved in your face, and you find yourself forced to rethink some of the ideas doled out like pabulum in the Alarmist shtick. In this case it is the simplistic idea that man burns fossil fuels and nature doesn’t.
In another case one might think man leaks oil and nature doesn’t, and then see natural slicks in the Gulf of Mexico, or tars oozing up from earthquake faults off the California coast.
Even as I type my daughter has bought home a new “pink” salt, which is supposedly healthier, as it is from high up in the Himalayas. A mere saltshaker fills me with wonder about how that salt got way up there, and also about what happened to all the fossil fuels when the subcontinent of India was sent smashing into Asia by continental drift.
The problem with some people is they don’t think very deeply about the lollipop shticks they get handed and are asked to suck upon. It doesn’t take much thought to realize Nature is the original recycler, plowing the ocean floor down in geological subduction zones, and creating huge mountain ranges with fossil seashells at the tops.
Over at “Watts Up With That” there was a guest essay by Larry Kummer about the Alarmist shtick involving Methane. Initially I wasn’t interested because the Alarmism involved is so soundly refuted that not even the IPCC thinks it is worth freaking out about, (and the IPCC freaks out about stuff grandmothers laugh at). (I myself couldn’t even start to take the Methane Fear seriously, because I have seen plenty of evidence it was much warmer in the arctic in the relatively recent past, and if there weren’t uncontrollable methane releases back then I don’t see why they should occur now.) http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/08/24/the-easy-solution-to-the-looming-monster-methane-apocalypse/
Ordinarily I would have skipped the post, as the issue usually bores me, however the Alarmist cartoon at the start intrigued me, for it suggested that some Alarmists are so sold on the idea of a “Methane Monster” that they even see the pro-Global-Warming IPCC as “deniers.”
I fully intended to only skim the article, but in it discovered a portal to another tundra wonder, found in this paper: http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v9/n8/abs/ismej201513a.html
In a nutshell the paper states there are two sorts of arctic soil, one which is frozen ooze that is rich in carbon and might be expected to burp up some methane if warmed, but also a second which is a more-common-soil which holds little carbon, as it is the sort of till one associates with glaciers and glacier-scraped landscapes. (Glaciers largely transport topsoil far away to terminal moraines and out-wash streams. After a glacier departs the landscape is usually denuded of topsoil. It is clay, sand and gravel that holds no organic carbon and can brew no methane. It also is devoid of compost, and can’t feed plants. It is basically sterile, however a bacterium inhabits the surface of such soil that can snatch methane from the air, and enrich its own habitat.)
That was what grabbed my mind’s eye. Perhaps it was because as a farmer I’m interested in enriching soils, but my mind highlighted the paper’s suggestion that, where the soil lacks carbon, nature has found a way to enrich the soil, using bacteria that gobbles methane. The paper went on to state that the warmer it gets, the livelier that bacterium gets, and the more methane it gobbles. (IE: warmer temperatures mean less methane is left in the air; the exact opposite of what Methane-hysteria predicts.)
This shows how little we understand the Earth we claim to be the protectors of. If we’d all gone rushing off half-cocked on a crusade against methane, we might be dooming the arctic topsoil to sterility. Just imagine our guilt!
The old time farmers knew of two basic ways to enrich soil. The first involved sweat and toil, and lugging manure from the stables and spreading it in the fields. The second was a heck of a lot easier, because all you needed to do was give the field a rest. It was called a “fallow” field.
A fallow field shows nature’s ability to enrich a landscape without any help from humans. You’d think Alarmists would get this concept, considering they portray man as the raping, robbing bad-guy, and nature as the loving, giving good-gal. However some don’t seem to see nature will not allow a natural thing like methane to go to waste. Neither will nature allow a natural thing like crude oil seeping up from earthquake faults in California to go to waste. Nature gobbles the substances up, and they becomes part of the food chain, which involves all sorts of stuff eating, being eaten, and, in the end, turning to manure which enriches the soil.
Nature can take a most sterile landscape and make it verdant. The second a glacier recedes nature gets busy on the barren landscape, starting with lichen and progressing through tundra to taiga to the rich farmlands of Ohio.
In essence nature is guilty of altering its environment even more than man. Nature does not care a hoot about the current ecosystem. It improves upon it. However many fail to understand this natural progression, (and yet some call themselves “progressives”).
The arctic landscape is extra amazing, for it shows nature tested to its limits, and how nature will not stand for the status quo of a sterile ecosystem, but enriches it. Besides the micro-critter in sterile arctic soil that craves methane, there are some amazing micro-critters that live out on the even more hostile environment of the sea-ice.
The first was brought into the focus of my mind’s eye by the amazing pictures made public by the exploits of O-buoy 9, during its two-year-journey from the Asian side of the Pole to a pile-up on the north coast of Greenland, and then east to a grand exit south into Fram Strait. The time-lapse movie made of the pictures taken during this journey makes better watching than most sea-ice documentaries, (and contains more pure Truth). This is especially true of the final eight minutes, which shows the coast of Greenland come looming up, the ice piling up, and then the ice going through a sort of swirling blender in Fram Strait.
For most of the journey the sea-ice is either a pristine white or a gorgeous turquoise. It is only when the ice gets to Fram Strait that the overlays of fresh snows are melted away, and one is confronted by the phenomenon of filthy ice.
Of course, the very sight of dirty ice can get the usual suspects raving about coal-fired power plants, and the audacity Asian nations have, daring to develop their economies. There tends to be some pushback from others who suggest soot from volcanoes might contribute to the ice’s dingy hue, but this pushback isn’t great. It is generally accepted humans must get the blame, until something odd is noticed. A lot of the ice in Fram Strait has been flipped like a pancake, and it is not the top of the ice that is dirty, but rather the bottom. Like the hull of a ship that has spent long months at sea, the underside of the ice is coated with a slime. Micro-critters have been at it once again, and humans get no credit.
This actually hugely changed a preconception that I was taught, which stated that the Arctic Ocean was like other Seas, and that once you got away from the Continental Shelf the waters tended to become increasingly sterile. Without reefs, shallow waters, and the upwelling of nutrients that occur near shores, there could be no plankton, no arctic cod, no seals, and last but not least, no icons of Global Warming Worry, polar bears. In fact it was stated that, as the sea-ice shrank in the arctic, bears and seals would be forced away from the shores into waters that were basically a desert, and they would starve.
Usually I avoid the topic of polar bears, because the shtick is so maudlin it makes me want to go outside and bang my head against a tree. Fortunately I discovered the site http://polarbearscience.com/ , which contains less emotion and more science. There I discovered that, away from the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, there was no sign of emaciated seals or bears, and in fact the animals looked, if anything, obese. What happened to the desert? Once again humans get no credit, for micro-critters saved the day.
Apparently the slime on the underside of sea-ice utterly changes the equation, and makes the Arctic Ocean unique among oceans, because even far from shore the nutrients may exist that feed plankton that feed cod that feed seals that feed bears. Nothing eats bears, so there actually were some very old bears that could qualify as being skinny. (Of course, using senile bears to judge the physical status of all bears would be like using a ninety-year-old man to judge the strength of all humans…so that is exactly what the media went and did, on occasion, which explains my going outside to bang my head on trees.)
I prefer avoiding the entire topic of bears, and instead like to contemplate the true boss and controller of the arctic ecosystem, which is that amazing micro-critter, which exists as slime on the underside of ice.
Talk about a hostile environment! The underside of ice might seem a quiet and calm place to abide, and you might imagine a 24-hour-daylight of a deep, undersea turquoise and emerald would be appealing to algae, however consider, if you will, the surface the critters are growing upon. They are attempting to root upon a surface that is constantly melting away beneath their feet. In fact the bottom of the sea ice melts upwards an average of three to four feet, each summer. Talk about climbing a slippery slope! How the heck do the critters hang on? Then the sunlight vanishes and the ice grows downwards three to four feet, engulfing them deeply in bitter cold ice. How the heck do they get started the following spring?
However that hostile environment is nothing, compared to another niche another micro-critter has carved out.
When the arctic water freezes in the fall, salt is exuded from the ice and coexists with solid ice as liquid brine. This brine forms in all directions, and the surface of the ice can be wet with brine at first, however with time gravity takes charge and the brine starts melting its way down through the ice. In extreme situations, for example when polynyas of open water form as gales blow ice offshore along the coast of Antarctica, the brine can actually form trickling channels and then, when the brine reaches the seawater beneath the new ice, be so cold that the brine freezes the seawater on contact, and form pipelines of ice downwards called “brinicles”. So cold is the brine flowing down these tubes that when they reach the sea-bottom they can freeze passing starfish in their tracks
Ordinarily temperatures around the North Pole are not so extremely cold, and the amount of brine is more limited, and the brine sinks down through the ice as little teardrops of very salty water, boring downwards even while freezing over from above. They become self contained units, like little down-elevators. You might think absolutely nothing could live in these bitter cold, inky dark, and extremely salty descending elevators. However apparently some bacterium was looking for a place to rent with no competitors, no predators, and no salesmen, and decided these elevators looked like a perfect niche to make their own. So what if the niche was extremely cold, extremely salty, and extremely dark? (Sounds like some places I myself rented, when young.)
Then this little tenacious tenant apparently becomes dissatisfied with the brine. There must be some bacterial equivalent of a wife who wants to hang drapes and pictures, for this micro-critter apparently adjusts the brine to its liking. It does not want to make a Natural Park of the status quo, but rather fundamentally alters the microenvironment, so it is chemically different when it exits the ice at the bottom of the sea-ice. Among other things, the micro-critter concentrates the element bromine.
Most of the time this makes little difference to the greater environment. Some bromine is removed from the seawater as the elevator starts down, and returned to the seawater when the elevator reaches the ground floor, which occurs when the droplet of brine exits the ice at the bottom of the sea-ice. But not all the micro-critters make this journey. Some get left behind. The elevator door slams in their face, back up at the top of the ice.
This brings up the mystery of how these critters got up there in the first place. If they are so superbly adapted to darkness and bitter cold and high salinity, how the heck do they survive in the summer’s sunlit seas? Don’t ask me; they just do it. Maybe they are dormant, but they are laying in wait for the first appearance of the next winter’s brine, and immediately thriving in the brine when it appears, which can be when the ice is a tenth of an inch thick and the brine is a thin layer of wetness atop that thin ice. These conditions also happen to be the same conditions needed for the formation of a beautiful arctic creation called “ice flowers”.
The creation of ice flowers has nothing to do with life, and rather has to do with a cardboard-thin layer of supersaturated air, just above the ice, which stimulates frost formations. This frost, it just so happens, is a perfect wick and sponge for brine, and sucks the brine up. You might wonder why the salt in the brine doesn’t immediately melt the ice crystals, and perhaps it does in some circumstances, but in other circumstances even being slightly higher off the ice, a hair’s breadth, plunges the brine into cold so frigid that it freezes. Salt has lost its capacity to melt ice. The micro-critters in the brine are frozen in place as well, along with their baggage of bromine. And I wish we could end the tale here, for the ice-flowers in the breathless quiet of arctic twilight are a beautiful sight. Photo Credit: Matthias Wietz. From: http://www.polarmicrobes.org/?p=106 (Ice in this picture is only 1/16th of an inch thick)
However Nature, on this planet at least, is not frozen solid, and soon the winds rise, and it turns out the ice-flowers are fragile things. They are shattered by gusts, and turned into dust in the wind, but even the dust does not remain static, for the part of the frost that is water sublimates away, until the dust is mostly powdered salt, with, of course, trace amounts of micro-critters and their bromine. So fine and light is this dust that it hangs in the darkened air as haze, kept aloft by the lightest wafting, and when winds howl the haze can be lifted to the very top of the troposphere, and at the tropopause the micro-critters and their suitcases of Bromine get introduced this stuff called Ozone.
Now at this point your antennae should be waving wildly and you should be saying, “Danger! Danger! Danger, Will Robertson! Ozone Hole imminent!” But the real danger, if you are a Climate Scientist, is that the hole is not caused by man, but by micro-critters.
Therefore your job as a Climate Scientist, if you chose to accept it (and expect a grant), is to somehow demonstrate that man is responsible for those micro-critters being up there. Man has created a terrible increase of ice-flowers in the arctic, or some such thing. Man is master. Man is in control.
But those arctic micro-critters just laugh at us. They know who the real Boss is. They disobey one of the most fundamental scientific laws, by living their entire lives without ever needing a grant. They utterly ignore the dictates of the EPA. How dare they!
Where ordinary folk look upwards into dark winter skies and see the wonder and beauty of a star strewn infinitude, or the abrupt curtains of shimmering northern lights, and are glad, Climate Scientists skulk in dread. For they know that, for every micro-critter we know about, there are a thousand undiscovered, and all of them are laughing. When a Climate Scientist looks up, (which is seldom if he’s shackled by shame), he hears no music of angels, but rather the derision of countless criminal micro-critters, all imitating James Cagney (albeit in chipmunk voices), “Made it Ma! Top of the World”, before blowing up the fossil-fuel masquerade.
However I very much doubt micro-critters actually behave in Cagney’s unseemly manner. Rather I deem them wonderful, and part of a greater wonder, called Truth, which created all things, including us, (and even including poor, hapless Climate Scientists).